Monday Musings ~ January 11, 2021

Welcome to Monday. The laptop’s back up and running now and we thought this smile was a clever way to let you know we’re back. While we read everyone’s posts from last week, we left next to no comments. My hat’s off to millennials who easily manage life typing on a tiny little phone screen. Alas I’d make a lousy millennial since it became clear quickly that leaving comments from the phone was an exercise in futility and frustration. But we’re back, I’m smiling and the small storm that blew through over the weekend allowed us some ‘dashing through the snow’ time so the dogs (well at least Elsa) were happy too. Norman remains in the “Yeah, I can hold it” camp but he still manages to leave significant amounts of yellow posts nonetheless whenever we ventured out. Talk about a weather wuss.


We hope your privacy settings are well respected this week and it turns out to be a good one. It’s ‘crisp’ this morning, (19ºF at 8:30 local time) but should hit the mid 40’s later today with low 60’s by Wednesday. Woohoo…60’s in January folks! We’ll take it. Have a great Monday and even greater week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ January 4, 2021

We hope you had a lovely New Year’s celebration. Ours was quiet…well until around midnight when some knuckle-dragging neighbors began shooting off fireworks. For a few minutes, it was nerve-wracking for a couple of pups. Fireworks always set my jaw and make me grumble but we finally were able to get to sleep soon thereafter. Thank goodness for the BBC which broadcasts late at night on  public radio. Apart from getting world-wide news without the same cable TV newscaster droning on about that same ‘breaking news’ story that had been highlighted for the previous six hours, it provided some pleasant white noise for the dogs. Hard to believe they have next to no interest in soccer scores or how the 4-1/2 year long divorce known as BREXIT ended up.  It only took about 15 minutes before canine snores were competing with news from Britain, the rest of the world and fireworks.

Unlike my usual MO, this post was penned before Monday. Usually they’re done the morning they get published but knowing the laptop will be going in for a tune up later this week, it was actually written in advance. I even hope to get a couple in the hopper to tie us over. Perhaps this proactivity might set the stage for that age-old resolution of ‘being better organized.’ Yeah, probably not.

So let’s start out the new year with a nice big smile, shall we?


So how was your New Year’s celebration? Here’s hoping the ‘first week’ sets the tone for a better year. Hope springs eternal.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Meet the Breed ~ December 2020

NormanWelcome to Meet the Breed Monday. Norman here. We’ve been AWOL these past few months with this series (and by ‘we,’ I mean mum, who neglected to help me with research). And every time I was ready to finalize the post, something else came up so here we are. But no more banging on about who dropped the ball…BALL?!?! Wait, somebody’s got my ball?? Sheesh, almost got off track there. Whew.

So let’s see who’s the star of this edition. Which breed shall we highlight this time? Our breed lottery winner for this month is…drumroll please…the affable and regal looking German Shorthair Pointer (“GSP”). Please note, all images in this post are from mum’s son who owned Copper for more than 14 years. We’re sure he greeted Sam at the Rainbow Bridge with the same enthusiasm as when he stayed with us before clearing quarantine for his move to Hawaii 8 years ago.

The buddies

According to the AKC, GSP’s are rated the 9th most popular of registered breeds and range in size from 21-25″ high while weighing between 45-70 pounds. Their life expectancy is between 10-12 years.

GSP’s can be summed up in a few words: friendly, smart, and willing to please. Bred to work long days in the field or on the lake, this powerful, agile breed requires lots of exercise. They live to run, swim, and participate in activities involving movement. So, if you’re looking for an active partner, then the German Shorthaired Pointer may be just the right dog for you. They make great family dogs as well.

Copper and Kevin spending a day at the beach-that dog absolutely loved the water.

So what’s the history behind the GSP? The German bird-dog tradition dates back to at least the 1700s, with master breeders experimenting with tracking hound–pointing dog crosses in the quest for a quick and powerful hunter with a good nose and plenty of versatility. A key player in the early development of this breed was nobleman, Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels. The prince and fellow enthusiasts succeeded in creating a do-it-all hunting dog. A breed historian summed up the GSP’s credentials as being “a staunchly pointing bird dog; a keen-nosed night trailer; a proven duck dog; a natural retriever on land or water, with pleasing conformation and markings, and great powers of endurance; and an intelligent family watchdog and companion.”

GSP hunts a variety of quarry: gamebirds, possum, rabbit, raccoon. With  webbed feet and a sleek but sturdy construction, the GSP punctates his résumé as one of dogdom’s finest swimmers.

Note the drool bomb in anticipation of getting into the water

GSPs make happy, trainable pets who bond firmly with their families. They’re always up for physical activity that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoor time with their human buddy.

Sweet ole ‘sugar-faced’ Copper-2012 making himself comfy in Sam’s bed

Do you have any experience with this great family and hunting dog?

Remember if you’d like your dog featured in our “Meet the Breed” series, be sure to email photos to mum so she can feature your good dog in a future post.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 7, 2020


We hope you have a smile-filled week. Happy Monday from the Ranch hands.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 30, 2020


Accepting submissions now. Happy Monday.

Did anyone happen to catch The National Dog Show over the weekend? Even though  no fans were allowed to attend (cardboard cutouts of dogs were featured in the seats) and announcers broadcast from their respective homes, the AKC safely hosted the show and what a great batch of dogs participated (including Kam, the black Standard Poodle, who won the non-sporting group – shameless plug for Elsa’s breed). Big congratulations to 3-year old Claire, the Scottish Deerhound for her Best In Show Win. Deerhounds are not often in best-in-show limelight, despite being one of the oldest breeds recognized by the AKC. It was the first win for the breed in the show’s 135-year history. Many fans took a particular liking to little Chester, a personality filled Affenpinscher, who was the winner in the Toy Group. Kudos to all the ‘pawticipants,’ both two and four legged.

Here’s to enjoying a great last day of November and a ‘wagnificent,’ tail-wagging start to December. And for those keeping track, there are 24 days until the big guy in the red suit arrives. 😱

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 26, 2020

It’s Monday and this is where we start out the week with a smile. Even as we’re being buried in about 9″ (so far) of snow with single digits. Yup, it’s true, winter arrived at the Ranch. Both dogs took one look outside, sniffed then turned around saying, “Nah, we can hold it for a while.”


The snowstorm has somewhat stemmed the growth of the fire (despite it consuming now more than 192,000 acres) as well as much of the containment work across Northern Colorado’s massive wildfires. Some evacuation orders have been lifted in Larimer and Grand Counties as of Sunday night. This is good news. That said, because much of the region is in rough, steep country, heavy equipment used to fight fires will not be able to make additional progress in the icy conditions. Perhaps the 700+ firefighters can get some much needed rest. We continue to keep them and the residents of the fire areas in our thoughts and prayers.

Here’s to a ‘wagnificent’ week of smiles, mask wearing, social distancing and paw washing.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 10, 2020


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Meet the Breed Monday ~ July 2020

NormanIt’s Monday and we hope the weekend was tickety-boo. While you’re rubbing the sleep out of your eyes and heading into a brand new week, let’s  ‘budge up’ and have a good chinwag about this month’s edition of “Meet the Breed.” Norman here. Elsa and I argued chatted up which breed we wanted to look at and finally decided to look no farther than within our own family for a good look at a very cool breed, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, often called as “Chessies.” Rudder and Axel are mum’s nephews and just moved into a new mountain home not far from rivers and streams, a Chessies dream world. You can visit their blog here.


Blimey! Look at that boy’s take off! That handsome, athletic fella is Rudder. Can I just say… mate, my golly! You think he can give me loads of advice on water fun?

To say Chessies are “water dogs” is a bit of an understatement. This American original embodies all that is valued in retrievers. They’re loyal, upbeat, affectionate, and tireless and well known for their waterproof coat. Rudder is always ready for retrieving sticks or rocks thrown into nearby streams.


Chessies are strong, powerfully built gundogs standing anywhere from 21 to 26 inches at the shoulder with males weighing between 75 to 100 pounds. The distinctive breed trait is a wavy coat that is oily to the touch. Chessies are solid-colored, either chocolatey brown, sedge, or deadgrass, with keen yellow-amber eyes that nicely complement the coat and live between 10-13 years.

Adorably cute Axel as a puppy

Chessies are more emotionally complex than the average gundog. They take well to training, but can have a mind of their own and can tenaciously pursue their own path. Protective of their humans as well as polite, they may not be openly friendly toward strangers. Chessies make excellent watchdogs and a well-socialized Chessie makes for a confident companion and hunting buddy.


So how did this breed originate you ask? Seems that during the 19th century well-heeled owners of the duck clubs that lined the shores of the Chesapeake Bay  began breeding the breed we’ve come to know today. It’s believed that Newfoundlands, Irish Water Spaniels, and other hounds of undetermined origin were among the breed’s early genetic mix. By the time the AKC was founded in 1884, a definite “Chessie type” had been established.

To understand this breed, one needs to know a bit about the area from where they originated. Two key features to the 200-mile-long estuary surrounded by Maryland and Virginia factor into why Chessies were developed. First, the Bay is relatively shallow with a low capacity for storing heat allowing water temps to get down to around freezing in early winter and stay there until spring. Secondly, Bay’s location lies along the “Atlantic Flyway,” a flight path taken by ducks and geese to their winter homes. Every year the Bay hosts a good third of all migratory waterfowl wintering on the East Coast of the US.

Hunters used these features to breed a dog who is well-suited to the Bay’s frigid water and visiting waterfowl. The thick, oily, double coat of a Chessie  not only insulates, but it is waterproof as well. Repealing moisture much like  duck feathers do and broad chest acts much like a plow against ice floes while the powerful hindquarters with large webbed feet enable him to swim tirelessly against the Bay’s windy conditions. Ideally equipped for retrieving, Chessies are a reliable, indefatigable dog possessing a ‘soft mouth’ ensuring the hunter that his retrieved fowl will remain intact upon retrieval. I’m guessing the Ninja wouldn’t make a very good retriever since she manages to chew ears and feet off all my toys, despite her own breed’s soft mouth. *sigh

Chessies are real charmers being perceptive and sensitive and make excellent therapy dogs. With their strong ability to follow scents, they do brilliantly in search-and-rescue work or drug and bomb detection. Dashing good looks and athleticism definitely give these blokes a definite leg up in show rings as well as in a variety of dog competitions.

Ruddy and Axel living the good life

Hope you enjoyed meeting mum’s ‘nephews.’ Have you encountered these athletic dogs before? Mum says if you are interested in featuring your own breed in the coming months, be sure to contact her. I’d love to tell all my mates about your good dog. Cheerio!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 6, 2020


Sometimes trimming the bangs is needed between grooms. Rocks in particular are grateful, aren’t they Norman?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Fostering and Rescuing – A Book Review

As you probably know I’m very passionate about rescues (both Norman and Elsa were rescued) so when I was recently provided an opportunity to review a new book by best-selling author, Cara Achterberg, I jumped at the chance. Yes, we’re talking about THAT Cara Achterberg, author of Another Good Dog. Squeals! Ms. Achterberg is one amazing upright who has taken dog rescue advocacy to a whole ‘nother level. Reviewing One Hundred Dogs & Counting One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues” being released on July 7, was just something I couldn’t pass up.

Book review
Cowgirl author and rescue advocate, Cara Achterberg

For anyone not familiar with Cara, she is an award-winning writer, blogger, and consummate dog rescue champion. I was keen to review her latest book which explains the ins and outs of rescue work like nothing I’d ever read before and I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes work of rescuing and shelters. Who knew the public perception of shelters and the private reality could be so disparate?

One Hundred Dogs & Counting follows the footsteps of Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Cara’s latest book began as a mother/son trip into the world of ‘dog pounds,’ private rescues and some of the most desperate public shelters around that most people are completely unaware. I had no idea how the world of shelters and rescues worked. With humor and deep compassion, Cara writes the book every dog lover needs to read and provides a remarkable journal how shelter dogs end up with a rescue and some of the heartbreaking details as to why some do and others don’t. This book offers hope in the face of unthinkable heartache, limited resources and long odds toward success. It also provides a narrative of hope shared by a cadry of real heroes working with limited resources in shelters and rescue groups while providing you an opportunity to help by sharing its message.

With generous praise and gratitude for her family, Operation Paws for Homes (OPA), the group with which she fosters dogs, numerous directors, rescue coordinators, Animal Control Offices and countless volunteers, Cara takes you through just what a “no-kill” shelter is. She provides a terrific resource list giving readers an opportunity to help in exposing the quiet reality of too many shelters by crafting a remarkable story with a heartfelt plea. As dog lovers and pet bloggers, it’s up to use to educate people of the all too familiar goings on in cities and towns across the country. As she puts it: let’s all work toward bringing Gandhi’s words to fruition.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.

Book review

Be sure to put this book on your summer reading list and order your copy of this remarkable rescue journey and spread its powerful message today. The Ranch Hands enthusiastically give it a 4 out of 4 paw endorsement. 🐾🐾

Book review

Live, love, bark! 🐾